Key US healthcare bill passed22nd March 2010
Legislators in the United States have passed President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare reform bill.
The new bill will make provision for near-universal health coverage for US citizens.
The healthcare bill, which will restructure around a sixth of the US economy, was finally passed with 219 votes in favour and 212 against.
The entire Republican constituent of the House counted among the people who voted against the bill.
They were joined by 34 Democratic representatives, who voted against the bill.
House Democrats managed to pass another healthcare bill the same day, with 33 in their party voting against it.
As a result, Obama's new healthcare legislation will now move to the Senate.
In order to help pass the two bills, US President Barack Obama made an executive order that none of the new healthcare budget money would be used to pay for abortions.
While many legislators lauded the promise, Roman Catholic bishops and other anti-abortion bodies said that it was still not up to their standards.
After the bills passed, Obama said that his party had risen above the weight of its own politics, and proved that the US government is still Democratic.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said that the bill followed in the footsteps of Social Security and Medicare.
Republicans are now hoping they can use the bill to undermine Democratic support, since polls have shown many Americans opposed the legislation.
Majority Leader John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said that the House moved against public will, and that legislators were confusing their own desires with the desires of the common people.
While the new bill still needs to pass in the Senate, Democrats have said that they have enough support to approve it there.
The US Congressional Budget Office now estimates that 95% of all legal US residents will be insured within the next 10 years, a 12% increase.
Many medical companies opposed the bill because of the taxes it will impose.
Over the next 10 years, insurance companies, drug makers, and medical device companies will be responsible for about US$108 billion in new taxes.
Over the next decade, US$108 billion in new fees will be levied from insurers, drug makers and medical device companies.
Bill Hawkins, chief executive of medical device manufacturer Medtronic Inc, said that the new bill would make the US one of the highest-taxed regions in the world.
He said that he planned to cut as many as 1,000 jobs at his company in order to compensate for the new taxes.
Healthcare consumers will feel the effects of the bill immediately, especially people who are currently insured.
Because health insurance companies will be required to change their policies, some of the people who are currently insured could lose their health insurance.
Once the bill is passed, most US citizens will have to pay about US$700 a year in order to receive government insurance.
The new healthcare bill also changes the student loan system in the US, which is currently based on bank subsidies.
After the new legislation is passed, college students will receive loans directly from the federal government.
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Title: Key US healthcare bill passed
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 14448
Date Added: 22nd Mar 2010